Crop & Natural Resource
Agriculture has been the dominant sector of the country’s economy, representing nearly 42% of GDP, 77% of employment, and 84% of exports. In addition, the majority of the agriculture sector consists of smallholder farmers who make their living from less than two hectares of land. Despite significant increases in overall agricultural outputs in the recent past, the sector is still dominated by subsistence modes of production. The significant increase in cereal production (63%) in the past six years, has not translated into a proportional increase in marketable surplus, which in 2013/14 was only 16%, with two thirds of the production being consumed by the producing farmers. A similar picture is seen for the livestock sector – in 2013/14, only 6% of the milk produced by smallholder farmers was marketed, while 41% was consumed at home by the producing farmers.1
An interplay of complex systemic bottlenecks contributes to the significant challenges that the crop and livestock sectors are facing today: Utilization of crop-productivity enhancing inputs, such as fertilizers, seeds, and agrochemicals by smallholder farmers is still very low, despite significant increases achieved in the recent past; the level of farm mechanization, in both crop and livestock sectors, is at a rudimentary stage; post-harvest losses of both crop and livestock products is significant; access to finance for millions of smallholder farmers is still low; and market orientation and overall capacity of the research and extension services are very limited.
Such challenges need to be addressed at systemic level, to achieve sustainable and significant increase in production and productivity of the crop and livestock sectors, which ultimately would contribute to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, as well as drive the overall economic growth.
1Central Statistical Agency, Agricultural Sample Survey. 2013/2014 Report on Crop and Livestock Product Utilization.